Archive for October, 2012

Disaster Relief for Hurricane Sandy: How to Give or Get Help

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, people across the region are beginning the long road to recovery, dealing with the destruction and finding ways to help those in need.

Executive Director of Catholic Charities Monsignor Kevin Sullivan noted, “Catholic Charities has been in the forefront of helping the disaster victims…Our workers, trained in disaster response, are prepared to meet the human needs such disasters cause.”

Catholic Charities is available in multiple ways to help meet these needs for you and your neighbors:

  • For Help: If you or anyone you know has lost power or been evacuated, click here for available resources.

Catholic Charities appreciates your support as we work together with our neighbors, providing help and creating hope in this time of great need.

Nazareth Housing honors Msgr. Kevin Sullivan

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Hurricanes are whipping up along the Atlantic seaboard, temperatures are dropping and many New Yorkers remain without homes.  Catholic Charities and its  affiliated agencies work to provide housing stability for New Yorkers in need.

On October 24, 2012, Nazareth Housing, a non-profit agency committed to promoting housing stability and economic independence for those in need, honored Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York, with the Community Service Award at its Annual Benefit for his work with Catholic Charities in providing help and creating hope for New Yorkers in need.

For more information, click here.

What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming storms?  Click here to share your suggestions.

Congratulations to New Dad and Marathon Runner Michael Murrer

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Back in his pre-parent days,  Michael Murrer said he saw his run for Team Catholic Charities NY in the NYC ING Marathon on November 4 as “the last good chance before stuff gets really crazy.”  Read more.

But as this new dad is learning, when it comes to babies and timing, babies call the shots.

His little brown-haired girl, Rosemary Ann Murrer, greeted him and his wife, Diana, on Friday, October 5 at 6:19 a.m.  She was born at NYU Langone Medical Center and weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds 9 ounces.

Murrer says that he is thrilled, dazed and, yes, a little sleep deprived.

None-the-less, he still plans to run the marathon.  He added, however, “I may not break any records.”

Want to learn more about how this new dad does on his marathon run?

Please click here to support Michael Murrer’s fundraising goal for Catholic Charities and cheer him on.

TRADING PLACES – From Volunteer to Staff and Back Again

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Pegeen Wall and Mary Marshall

Pegeen Wall and Mary Marshall did a double take when they heard one another’s name announced at a recent Catholic Charities volunteer training session held in Poughkeepsie.  They met decades back when Ms. Marshall, then a young mom, volunteered to teach children to swim at the local YWCA where Ms. Wall then worked as aquatic director.  But this time Ms. Wall, now semi retired, was the volunteer and Ms. Marshall was the recruiter seeking help.  Their professional and volunteer careers, they later learned, mirrored one another’s as they zigzagged back and forth from volunteer to staff and expanded their expertise along the way.

After their first meeting, Ms. Wall, today a grandmother of six, built a successful career in public relations and fund raising for nonprofit organizations while volunteering on a variety of boards and committees.  Meanwhile Ms. Marshall, a former IBM employee,  volunteered as president of a local nursery school board,  Parent-Teacher Association, garden club and more before volunteering at Catholic Charities in Ulster County in 1990.  She joined the agency staff in 1993 and has since worked her way up to her current position as Director of Catholic Charities Community Services in Poughkeepsie.

Now this social service agency is in the midst of a major drive to tap into volunteer expertise so that it can enhance and expand services offered.  Ms. Marshall has taken a leadership role in the effort in Poughkeepsie by drawing on expertise she developed working with and as a volunteer.

“We want to make sure we honor people who are generously giving their time,” Ms. Marshall said as she took a quick break from a monthly volunteer orientation and recruitment session in Dutchess County.  “Instead of fitting people into narrow volunteer positions,  we let them bring who they are and match them with what they have to offer.”

For Ms. Wall, this means the opportunity to do hands-on volunteer work by greeting clients, taking intake information and referring clients to Catholic Charities staff for help.

“I volunteered on boards and committees before but this has been an eye opener,” Ms. Wall said.  “I hadn’t expected the caliber, education and gratitude of people needing help,” she added, “and I’m impressed by the professional, gracious staff here that goes over and above in their efforts to serve.”

Looking for your perfect volunteer opportunity?

Visit to learn more information about volunteers and volunteer opportunities.

  • It’s easy. Simply type in a keyword such as “hunger,” “Thanksgiving,” or “seniors” AND your zip code.
  • Search for volunteer opportunities by your schedule, zip code and skill set and apply online.
  • Visit Getting Started to start volunteering right away.

Art, Salsa and Stickball: A Celebration of the South Bronx

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

You might not expect to hear a trumpet fanfare, see a game of stickball or witness a performance by the award-winning dancer Arthur Aviles on the streets of Hunts Point and Longwood, but on Saturday, October 6th, that’s exactly what audience members experienced. The final event in last weekend’s celebration of the South Bronx featured 88 performers showcasing the music, dance and games that contributed to the vibrant culture of the neighborhood throughout history.

Earlier that day, visitors met at Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education for a walking tour of the South Bronx Culture Trail. A two year initiative, the Trail celebrates the rich cultural history of the South Bronx. For example, visitors heard about some of the biggest names in Latin music who came from the area, and they learned that salsa legends Eddie Palmieri, Joe Quijano and Ray Barretto went to school at P.S. 52.

After the tour of the Trail, participants viewed the opening of the HOME exhibit at Casita Maria. The exhibit features objects brought in by members of the Casita Maria community that answer the question, “What does home mean to you?” Also on display are collaborative works between artists and the South Bronx community.

The celebration culminated in PASEO, which means “promenade.” Performers and audience members alike took to the streets with a parade through the neighborhood accompanied by lively music and dancing. On the street known as Banana Kelly, pigeons were released from a roof overhead. Participants also got to see games of stickball, double dutch and skelsies.

Created by Casita Maria and Dancing in the Streets to encourage community members and visitors to embrace the fascinating history of the South Bronx, the South Bronx Culture Trail helps bring people together and keep younger generations engaged in their cultural past.

Find out more about Casita Maria, view photos from Saturday’s celebration or watch a video of PASEO’s festivities.

How do you celebrate the cultural history of your neighborhood?

Once Homeless and Pregnant; Now Giving Back

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Nadia Owens, center, helps celebrate the 40th anniversary of New York Foundling's Mother/Child Program Photo: Daily News

Unmarried and pregnant, Nadia Owens was kicked out of her parent’s home.  Now, decades later, she is giving back to The New York Foundling, a Catholic Charities affiliated agency that rescued her and her unborn baby.

“I was told that I could put my baby up for adoption and stay home or I had to figure out where to go,” Owens recalls.

Fortunately, she learned about the New York Foundling Hospital. Now in its 40th year, the Foundling’s Mother/Child program provides a home for young mothers and teaches them how to live as independent, responsible parents.

Their joint efforts paid off.  Ms. Owens, today a married homeowner with a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s in human resources management, works as vice president of a global medical device manufacturer.

The daughter she was pregnant with while living at the New York Foundling Hospital is equally successful.  She graduated from NYU and is a senior financial analyst at a fashion company.

Now Owens is giving back.  “I want to help and inspire other young mothers,” says Owens, who now volunteers for the program and recently spoke about her journey at its 40th anniversary celebration.

Read her profile published in the Daily News.

Learn more about The New York Foundling.

Do you have a similar story to share?  Please click here and share it with us.

We Are All Creatures of One Family: St. Francis of Assisi Feast Day

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Do you respect all living things, great and small? If so, you’re in good company; so did St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day we celebrate on October 4th. Because of  his love for all of God’s creatures, St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Churches and organizations around the world are celebrating the feast day in many ways. Here are some ways to join the celebration:

  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked friends and followers to send in pictures of their pets. View the album of adorable animals.
  • Some churches are inviting parishioners to bring in their pets for a Blessing of the Animals. Fittingly, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York held their Blessing of Animals on Sunday, September 30th. See pictures from the blessing.
  • If you’d like to share with others the joy of interacting with animals, consider volunteering for Pet Therapy on Staten Island. When you bring Fluffy or Fido to one of the three Catholic Charities Community Services Senior Centers on SI, you’ll get to see the positive effect your pet can have on the men and women there. Get more information or sign up.

Learn How Amadou Diallo, 17, Stood Up to Oppression and How Catholic Charities Attorney Mario Russell, Stood Up for Him

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Mario Russell, Senior Attorney for Catholic Charities Immigration

Guinea government forces arrested Amadou Diallo, then age 17, threw him in jail for ten days and warned him that they would continue to use him as bait to catch his father, a political activist who opposed this West African nation’s strong-arm tactics and corruption.

Yet after Mr. Diallo fled to the United States, an immigration judge along with the Board of Immigration Appeals denied his appeal for safe asylum.

Thanks to a federal appeal overseen by Mario Russell, Senior Attorney for the Catholic Charities Immigration Office and St. John’s University Law School professor, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed these earlier decisions on September 27, 2012.  It remanded the case for reconsideration, reaffirming the principle that children and family members who are attacked or persecuted because of the activities of other family members are to be protected under the Refugee Act.

This victory represents the latest in a string of legal successes achieved thanks to efforts by Mr. Russell and the St. John’s Law School students he supervises at the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Litigation Clinic.  The clinic offers students the opportunity to work on real life-and-death cases in a clinical setting under the supervision of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York.

“It’s a five-way win,” Mr. Russell said as he celebrated the victory.  “For Catholic Charities, for the students, for the judges and for St. Johns,” he said. “And, in particular, for Mr. Diallo, our client.”

What do you think about the Appeals Court decision?

Click here and post your comments.